My fellow Republicans: there is no way that the impact of what happened can be softened by an explanation of circumstances. The Republican brand, on a national level, is now, obviously, completely incompatible with the mainstream political culture of this state. That brand has been created to satisfy constituent groups that are in the South and West of America. It has little to do with us, and we cannot do very much to control it. Brown and Tisei couldn’t get far enough away from it to win, and as polls and advertisements made clear, it was that connection that hurt them most.
It seems clear to me that it is no longer possible for a Republican to win congressional or statewide office. It is not important that you can, in your mind, sketch out the perfect candidate, circumstances, timing, and opponent to conjure up a theoretical win for a high office in this state.
Also, we lost House seats (Rob, you owe me a case of beer next time you’re in Cleveland Circle) and there is no prospect of gaining Senate seats anywhere in the near future.
We are, at this point, a regional party with lots of problems, a brand that is toxic, little money, and not much to lift our spirits. As we are no longer viable statewide, it is clear that the party is dead.
It is time for it to be re-built. I actually don’t think the main task is for us to change our policies or philosophy, you might be surprised to read. For instance, I am proud of my strong convictions about citizens, corporations, and government – convictions that are not going to change at all. The majority of people I know agree with me on these basic things. And you know where I live. (It’s just the Republicans they hate – but not me.)
I think we need to talk about what coalitions will get behind Republican ideas before we talk about party registration numbers. I think we need to become much more inclusive. I think we need to be a lot more tech-savvy. I think we need to become much more about policy. I think we need to unfriend all of the angry voices in our party who build nothing. I think we need to sit down with the Young Republicans and College Republicans and ask them what they want from this country and what kind of Republican party will help them get there. I think we need, more than anything else, to distinguish ourselves from the national GOP.
There will be much recrimination in the days to come. A lot of blaming the voters. A lot of people who always think that if we were just more conservative, people would vote for us. A lot of excuses around circumstances – such as the presidential turnout.
But I think most of you know that there is something fundamentally wrong with the party at a national level, and especially in Massachusetts. We need to put everything on the table and figure out what it means to be a Republican in Massachusetts. That will take time. But we have time now.